Sunday, September 30, 2012

Unreleased Prototype For Neo Geo Pocket Color Discovered & Now Made Official

With all of the recent hype over the upcoming Neo Geo X Gold console, it came as quite an interesting shock to us this morning when we discovered some news in regards to another Neo Geo handheld console: the Neo Geo Pocket Color. The system, with such a small number of titles available as it was (85 released worldwide and only a fraction of them getting a USA release), is very much an uncommon one. So learning about any unfinished prototypes or unreleased demonstrations is always something interesting and special. A sample cartridge of the previously unreleased “Magician Lord 2″ has been found, and we have some information and details under the cut.
The French website known as “Gamekult” is the one that broke the story online, and they are the proud owners of the cartridge. They have been quite generous in sharing video game footage, photos of the cartridge and screen grabs from the game. What makes this prototype discovery interesting is that it seems to be very early in the development stages at this point, and is quite unfinished. The game does not feature any audio. (Or if it does, it was not made evident in the video clips that we are able to share with you. But I think it would be safe to say that no audio was programmed yet.) The discovery certainly shares with fans of the Neo Geo Pocket Gold what the system was capable of.
Gamekult has not made it known on if the ROM has been dumped for the benefit of playing the game on an emulator program. While there are lots of people that would love to own a physical reproduction cartridge, sadly, that’s how rumors get started. Currently, there are no plans to do such a project.
For those unfamiliar with the Neo Geo Pocket Color handheld at all, let’s give you a quick rundown. The console is a 16-bit color handheld, manufactured by SNK, who was responsible for all of the Neo Geo consoles in the past. Previously, a handheld called “Neo Geo Pocket” had been released, but it was a black and white handheld which was released in 1998 in Japan. (The original monochrome predecessor was released only in Japan.) The Neo Geo Pocket Color was released in Japan on March 16, 1999, and was released for North American audiences on August 6, 1999. The updated color console was 100% compatible with the original devices game cartridges. The North American version had an exclusive launch on the eToys website, which also sold the initial launch titles in plastic snap lock cases, and sold originally for $69.95. The Neo Geo Pocket Color was SNK’s last video game console, and was discontinued in 2001. A total of 2 million units were sold worldwide.

Seeing a new prototype that was previously thought lost is always something pretty special in the world of retro video gaming. And finding a prototype for a system that was released, but not common in our country, makes it a special treat. So without further ado, here is some video footage of the supposedly lost “Magician Lord 2″ for the Neo Geo Pocket Color!

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